House of Josef and Vojtěch Chvojka

Táborská 1253/17, Koterovská 1253/65 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: U Duhy (TRAM 2)
GPS: 49.7384431N, 13.3942992E

Brothers Josef and Vojtěch Chvojka established themselves in Pilsen as successful entrepreneurs in sandstone mining in the area bounded by the streets of Koterovská, Táborská, Lobezská and today's Částkova (the park in part of the formerly mined area near today's General Píka Square bears their name too). Just outside the quarry premises, on the corner of Táborská and Koterovská streets, the Chvojka Brothers had a shared villa built in the early 1930s, the modernity of which surpassed the existing private residential houses in the Pražské Předměstí (i.e. the Prague Suburb, now called the Eastern Suburb). The construction of the building, significantly offset from both street lines, was carried out by the Jenč, Hladeček and Kroft building company. František Kroft, who was in charge of the implementation, is described in one of the period documents as the “designer”. However, the question remains as to whether he really was the author of the original Functionalist design.

The three-storey house with a flat roof extends along an L-shaped ground plan, the arms of which – divided into two tracts and broadened at the intersection by a segmental risalite lined balcony – open towards the garden. While the author mainly located the residential rooms in the wider wing facing both streets, he situated the facilities, lobby and staircase in the narrower courtyard tract. The main entrance and access to the garages were oriented towards Táborská Street. In the intimate space of the garden, into which both wings of the building opened, the architect designed an elevated, “romantically” shaped terrace with a gazebo, small pool and benches.

He rhythmized both street facades with shallow bay windows in the central axis and gave the house a Functionalist appearance not only with a flat roof with a reinforced concrete structure, but also with large windows and ceramic cladding of square white tiles, which were only rarely used in family houses and villas – unlike in apartment buildings. The author applied it mostly in strips between windows in both main facades (however, the project shows a horizontal “hatching” of structured plaster). He left the north-eastern side facade without cladding, but broke it up with a high strip of staircase glazing.

For the elevated ground floor and first floor, he designed a high standard apartment for each of the brothers with a rather unimaginative layout – a hall, living room, dining room, smoking room and two bedrooms, kitchen, maid's room, terrace and other operating and sanitary facilities. The elevated basement, designed essentially as a parterre, housed a one-room apartment for a caretaker, cellars, a laundry room with a drying room, a central heating boiler room and two garages.

During the war in 1942, each of the apartments was divided into two smaller ones. In 1955 most of the building ­– most likely previously nationalized – was converted to a nursery according to a project of the district construction company Stavoprav. The elevated ground floor was reserved for infants and toddlers, and the first floor housed a section for children under three years of age. The original caretaker’s apartment was still used for dwelling. The nursery operated in the villa until 1991. Three years later, the basement of the building was adapted for the production of orthopaedic prosthetics, and the top floor served for administration. The ground floor was probably made into a residential area again. At the end of the last century, the last change in the function of a part of the building took place as when prosthetics premises were turned into offices.

The current state of the house requires sensitive reconstruction, which should be approached with respect to the high standard of the original implementation and the importance of the original builders.



Josef and Vojtěch Chvojka


  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně